A man Stops a couple from Kissing at Nairobi Java House! What would you do?


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Walking along the beautiful beaches in Kenya, especially the North coast stretch of hotels, it is not odd to see people holding hands either in manifestation of love, lust, guilt, or other psychological forces that form “love”. Though Kenyans in Nairobi like to present themselves as modern representation of a developing country, public display of romance is still muted. The conservative village girls and boys who end up in the streets of Nairobi wearing tight shirts and pointed shoes seems to remain committed to village conservativism.

One of the places you can find these modernity is in Java coffee shops. Started by a couple of guys, one American entrepreneur, Java is the place to find women dressed in pant suits, or tight skirts showing off their underwear or luck off. Also it is here that the women come to show off their “designer” bags: rigged Chinese bags! Before you say aaah! That is why the professor loves Java; let me confess that they have the best latte! If you think starbucks has coffee, try Java latte. Kenyans who frequent there love what they call ‘dawa”. Never tried it. The Europeans, like the victim I saw, love Java because it reminds them of their coffee houses back home. In fact many Diaspora who return home make Java House their meeting spot!

The couple I saw at the Java house Mama Ngina Street must have assumed that the flush modernity viewed through the external shirts, tight pants, designer bags, I-phones and laptops was a demonstration of an eroded moral aptitude! They say you cannot judge a book by its cover. In Kenya, You can never judge a book by its cover. Kanyari has demonstrated that even in matters of faith, you cannot walk into a sanctuary because you see a range rover sport parked outside. Faith with verification is my moto. In fact I always reflect on Descartes in his philosophy of a verified life.

At the Java house, an older European, say 60 yrs, came in with a slender black girl. I knew she was Kenyan. You cannot miss a Kenyan! In the United States if you walk in a mall and you see a couple wondering around aimlessly, it is probably us. Say Jambo and we will spout out, “Haiia”. We are a unique and peculiar people. After ordering a Latte and the slander, tight jeaned, tight shirted kid (she could not be over 20), moved from across the booth to sit next to this grandpa! The man put his hands around her, pulled her close and started kissing her while the other hand was patrolling her flat chest. Did I say flat? I am sorry, it was!

I was sharing a booth with three 30 something Kenyans. I heard one of them say, “No no no, he cannot do that here.” I had my eyes on the latte therefore I had not noticed the drama. I live in the Sunshine state! We do not sniff our neighbor’s garbage! But when he repeated the statement, I got interested. It is then he pointed to the couple across on our right. “These people should know that families come here. This is not a place for that night club behavior.” He was agitated. I smiled and before I could engage my philosophical brain to analyze, he stood up. “I am going to kick them out.” He walked to the couple who were almost undressing and to the shock of all the patrons, he muttered, “You need to go the nightclub or home to do that. This is a family restaurant!” The patrons could not believe what they were witnessing! A conservative Kenyan with a Lion’s heart! The couple left muted!

He came back to the sit and engaged us in a restricted definition of Kenyan morality. “Do these people engage in this kind of behavior in their country? I mean, that Kenyan girl is stupid, how can she allow herself to be touched like that in public. How? Who do these Europeans think they are?” He vented. To me she was young and economically challenged? I have seen these kinds of couples. If you frequent Mombasa beach, you will see not just old women with young stout black men, but very old white men with girls who look as if they have not eaten in years. I have also seen these predators in Havana Cuba. In fact Havana is the haven for these European predators! The difference between Nairobi and Havana is the people’s moral code. Havana has no moral code! It is a beautiful city though.

If you looked from the outside, you would never imagine that these young, university educated men still hold within their soul the Kenyan village morality that makes me admire this Jamhuri. I was so impressed that someone had the courage to stand up for cultural moral philosophy. In fact I wondered if I could do the same. Could you?

Teddy Njoroge Kamau (PhD) HTBluff Associates: An EMG Consortium #HTBluff. In Nairobi. (Diaspora Messenger Contributor)

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